Almanac Rugby – Super Rugby Finals

The two Super Rugby competitions came to pulsating, dramatic finales on Saturday. Across the ditch, we saw the reign of the Sun Kings (aka the Crusaders) continue while in Brisbane it was all hail the new kings of Australian rugby as the Reds pulled one out of the fire that is still smoking days after the event


Crusaders 24 Chiefs 13


The full house sign went up in Christchurch on Saturday and the the place was heaving when the teams ran out. The visitors were well in it in the first half as the Crusaders slowly built their game plan. A rare miss by Damian McKenzie on half time still only left a 5 point gap to the hosts. He did, however, get them back on track earlier when he crossed in the corner in response to the first two tries the Chiefs conceded.


On cue, the intensity lifted in the second half. Scoring got tighter as the battle for territory intensified with each passing minute. McKenzie again missed some penalties he would normally eat for breakfast. His nemesis, Richie Mo’unga, had no such issues.


The way Mo’unga stood up when the game was on the line is why he is viewed by many as the greatest player on the planet at this time. His ability to read play and execute is sublime. His drop goal was perhaps the embodiment of that genius. He also had the most clean breaks along with Ethan Blackadder and both made significant inroads with ball in hand.


Not to be outdone, McKenzie had even more clean breaks and along with his winger, Jonah Lowe, lit up the park on those occasions.


The Crusaders winning another title is getting monotonous but the standard of rugby is just out of this world and watching top flight talent will never cease to excite.



Reds 19 Brumbies 16


Over 40,000 filled Lang Park for the biggest Super Rugby crowd for a local derby in 20 years. They were treated to a classic.


While the Brumbies looked the more accomplished team for most of the game, the doggedness of the Reds has been their central feature all season. It was certainly on display on Saturday.


The Reds pack started to get on top in the second half and they stayed within striking distance throughout. Four penalties from the reliable boot of James O’Connor got them with a point going into the last quarter. The Brumbies hit back with one of their own, so we had a 4 point ballgame going into the dying moments.


The Brumbies had a line-out close to the final siren but fluffed it big time. The resulting turnover led to over 6 minutes of a Reds onslaught peppering the try-line to scramble a try. Wave after wave of attacks were rebuffed but finally the ball was spun out to JOC and he crossed over for the first Reds try of the game to seal the title.


Just like Damian McKenzie, JOC scored all his team’s points, however the Reds number 10 got to stand on the dais as the captain of his conquering warriors. It has been a great story of redemption for one of the bad boys of rugby. He is now primed to wear the Wallabies 10 and go head to head with Mo’unga in Bledisloe later this year. What a mouth watering match-up that promises to be.


For the losing team, both Andy Muirhead and Tom Banks can hold their heads high for great efforts. Overall, the pack did well too but wilted a little late in the second half.


Both competitions have been successes and great lead-ins to the Trans Tasman comp kicking off this weekend. It’s five mini Bledisloes for five weeks. Fill those Eskys and chilly bins and strap yourselves in.


The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in the coming weeks. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order right now HERE



To return to the  home page click HERE


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.


Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One-off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE






Grew up playing the rugby codes in suburban Sydney. Moved to Melbourne during the Carey era so becoming a Shinboner was the natural call. Still love the game they play in heaven. Took an interest in MLB a few years back and have become infatuated with America's pastime.


  1. That final six minutes of Reds v Brumbies is what I love about rugby.
    Unrelenting attack versus stoic defence.
    Thrilling stuff.

Leave a Comment